10-month program to advance social enterprises includes August 14-22 in-residence in the heart of Silicon Valley.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 14, 2014— Sankara Eye Care Institutions aims to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to millions of rural poor. Eco-fuel Africa converts locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers. Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) develops, manufactures, and distributes durable devices for intensive newborn care for poor communities in Vietnam.
These three well-established “social enterprises”— non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses that seek to address social and environmental problems—are among the 16 chosen for the 12th annual Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator program at Santa Clara University.
Starting next month, the acclaimed 10-month program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with experienced, start-up savvy Silicon Valley executives and advisers. The aim is to help the entrepreneurs focus on and solve the largest obstacles keeping their businesses from “scaling,” or reaching more beneficiaries in their home countries or new ones.
“This year we received the strongest applicant pool of leading social entrepreneurs to date,” said Cassandra Staff, GSBI’s program director. “This speaks to the value of the GSBI Accelerator program and the impact the program has on preparing mature entrepreneurs for additional investment capital and growth.”
Sponsors of the GSBI Accelerator program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials, Skoll Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney.
After six months of online work with GSBI staff and two Silicon Valley mentors apiece, the cohort will come to Santa Clara University’s campus Aug. 14 for nine days of intensive training that culminates in an “Investor Showcase” Aug. 21. The showcase has become an inspiring event attended by hundreds of impact investors and others interested in accelerating the work of social entrepreneurs.
The 16 organizations in this year’s GSBI class operate in countries across the world including Mexico, South Africa, Jordan, and Vietnam. Among the other members of the GSBI Class of 2014 are: a company that makes biodigesters for small scale farmers in Mexico; a Peruvian employer of unskilled labor, whose workers are delivering data services to international clients; a South African company that teaches disadvantaged youth to be self-directed learners and chart careers; and a Chinese provider of renewable solar energy.
The list of GSBI mentors can be found at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/mentor.cfm.
Reporters interested in interviewing any of the entrepreneurs or Silicon Valley mentors while they are in town may contact Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations, email@example.com or 408-554-5121.
GSBI® Online is second program, tailored to early-stage social enterprises, to leverage Silicon Valley acumen and to feature online modules on business strategy, operational planning, metrics, and financials. Applications are now open for the next cohort: www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/
Following is a list of 2014 GSBI Accelerator organizations:
• Buen Manejo del Campo, dba Sistema Biobolsa
Sistema Biobolsa revolutionizes small scale agricultural by empowering farmers with high quality, patented biodigester technology, which allows them to convert animal and organic wastes into natural gas and organic fertilizer. http://sistemabiobolsa.com/home/
• Digital Divide Data
Digital Divide Data (DDD) is a social enterprise that delivers solutions with impact to meet the data services needs of businesses and institutions worldwide. DDD pioneered a new model called Impact Sourcing in Cambodia from 2001. www.digitaldividedata.org/
• Eco-fuel Africa Limited
Eco-fuel Africa empowers communities in Africa to use tailor-made technology to convert locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel (green charcoal) and organic fertilizers (biochar). This slows the rate of deforestation, reduces indoor air pollution, improves educational opportunities among girls and women by eliminating the need to search for wood, and reduces malnutrition by providing farmers with organic fertilizers.
• Ecofogão Ltda
Ecofogão is a woodstove manufacturer, which introduced the innovative concept of ecological clean and efficient stoves to the Brazilian market in 2004. Ecofogão was mainly created to serve low income market that depends on woodstoves for daily cooking, but also has taken advantage of the middle class market that uses woodstoves for recreation purposes. Ecofogão now wants to scale up toward the larger low income market of the northeastern Brazil. www.ecofogao.com.br/
Esoko is Africa’s leading communication platform for the agriculture sector, with a range of mobile based solutions, and serving a diverse array of partners in 10 countries. www.esoko.com/
IkamvaYouth enables disadvantaged South African youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The core program is the provision of after-school tutoring support to self-selected learners in grades 8 to 12 three times a week. This results in an actively engaged self-directed learner. http://ikamvayouth.org/
• iKure Techsoft Private Limited
iKure is establishing a chain of Rural Health Centers using innovative technology. Patients receive quality primary healthcare in their community, including doctor consultation, medicine, and basic check-ups. In case of any secondary or tertiary care, the patients are connected seamlessly to hub hospitals using proprietary software.
• JITA Social Business Bangladesh Limited
JITA Bangladesh is a joint venture of CARE International & Danone Communities dedicated to empowering women through a network of enterprises to create employment opportunities and improve access to markets for BOP consumers. http://jitabangladesh.com/
Komaza is an agro-forestry company working to provide African dry land farmers with planting inputs, training and maintenance services, and processing-sales support. The goals are to cultivate a life-changing income for farmers, curb rampant deforestation, and earn investor returns. http://komaza.org/
• Mali Biocarburant SA (MBSA)
Biofuel Mali SA (MBSA) is the first company producing biodiesel in West Africa. It is a private company that makes farmers shareholders in the company. By producing, processing and marketing biodiesel locally, Mali Biofuel SA contributes to the development of the local economy. www.malibiocarburant.com/malibio/
• Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS)
MTTS is a social enterprise that develops, manufactures, and distributes intensive newborn care medical devices, specifically designed for the needs of low-resource countries. They exist to ensure that all children, irrespectively of the place of birth, have the chance of a healthy upbringing. www.mtts-asia.com/
• One Earth Group Ltd. (Brand Name: One Earth Designs)
One Earth Designs creates clean, sharable energy. They began by working alongside nomads in the Himalayas, where they developed 54 solar cooker designs to combat fuel scarcity and household air pollution. Now, their R&D portfolio includes collaborations with governments and corporations to develop renewable energy solutions with the potential to improve living standards. www.oneearthdesigns.com/
Prospera empowers female-led micro businesses and connects them to conscious citizens and consumers looking to create a more equal and engaged society. www.prosperando.org
• Sankara Eye Care Institutions
Sankara Eye Care Institutions through its network of hospitals across India is one of the largest communities of eye care providers in the country. Sankara’s mission is to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to the millions of rural poor through a strong service oriented team. www.sankaraeye.com
SMEFunds produces a proven, cleaner, and lower-cost alternative to dangerous cooking fuels in Africa that can also be sold as transport fuel at economies of scale. www.smefunds.com/
• World Wide Hearing
World Wide Hearing Foundation International is a non-profit organization that provides access to affordable, high quality hearing aids to children and youth with hearing loss in developing countries. Their goal is to empower people with hearing loss so that they can realize their full potential. www.wwhearing.org/
The GSBI program is unique for several reasons:
*The program has built up a strong group of 70 Silicon Valley mentors who are CEOs, venture capitalists, marketing experts, experts in solar or other forms of alternative energy, and other seasoned executives who find it rewarding to work with social entrepreneurs free of charge, as a way of paying it forward. Some of them have volunteered at the GSBI for 10 years or more.
*While many university-based social entrepreneurship programs seek to help their own students become social entrepreneurs, the GSBI Accelerator helps entrepreneurs who are on the ground around the world helping communities.
*Undergraduate students leverage the relationships with the social entrepreneurs through research fellowships in countries like Brazil, India, Nepal, Uganda, and Paraguay.
*The GSBI has spawned the GSBI Network, composed of mission-aligned universities and programs around the globe that work directly with on-the-ground social enterprises.
*Earlier stage social enterprises learn the tenets of the GSBI methodology through an online-only version, GSBI Online. Through web modules and video conferencing, participants receive guidance from their Silicon Valley mentors, as well as mentors in their home regions.
A Billion Lives
It is the ambitious goal of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society — home to GSBI— to positively impact the lives of a billion people by 2020, by catalyzing the growth of social enterprises who provide the poor with affordable life-saving or life-enhancing products; new jobs or livelihoods; or information and tools to help themselves.
“Our GSBI Accelerator, Online, and Network programs could enable social entrepreneurs to collectively improve the lives of up to one-fourth of the global poor,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Center. “Our Global Social Benefit Fellows program is creating the next generation of ‘changemakers’: it provides SCU undergraduates transformative social justice learning experiences through practical action research projects with GSBI Alumni social entrepreneurs.”
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
Deborah Lohse, SCU Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 408-554-5121
Jaime Gusching, CSTS Marketing Manager, email@example.com, 408-551-6048